A year ago, Honda's Formula One team was coming to the end of another dismal season only to find itself under very dark clouds when the Japanese carmaker announced its retirement from the sport soon after the conclusion of the 2008 championship.
The decision took F1 by surprise
and set forth a long period of negotiations as Ross Brawn and Nick Fry sought a serious buyer for the team, only to eventually steer a management takeover and begin testing the renamed BGP 001 single seater mere weeks before the 2009 championship began – a car for which Honda had mostly sacrificed its 2008 season in order to better work on the new technical regulations coming into effect this year.
The rest, as they say, is history. The fairytale story of the long-struggling team suddenly reaching the heights of championship glory came true for the Brawn GP team, as Jenson Button
finally clinched the world title while the team won the constructors' crown in Brazil – the 16th of a 17-race season.
Speaking from Abu Dhabi ahead of this weekend's finale, Ross Brawn expressed the atmosphere floating about the Brawn operation these days: "Obviously euphoria at what we have managed to achieve.
"It probably wasn't until I got back to the factory that I appreciated how much it had meant to a lot of our people because they have been there a long time and not had any success, and the team had won one race up until this year," he elaborated. "We have still got people there from the very beginning of this version of the team as the team goes back as far as Tyrrell.
"It was special to go back and share the pleasure of the championships with a lot of the people there who had been working hard for so long," he said. "They never gave up."
Looking back at the enormous uncertainty of the winter months leading into the 2009 season, Brawn praised the commitment displayed by team staff, saying they had done "Everything that was needed, not even knowing if they were going to go past February.
"So it has been very special in many ways and for me quite exceptional because of the contrast of where we were over the winter and where we are now.
"Formula One does come together when teams are in difficulty," Brawn pointed out. "We had a lot of support from everyone during that period. We have our fierce competition, but I am glad to say Formula One still sticks together to help each other when teams are in difficulty."
The title-winning Team Principal also wished to commend the atmosphere found in the paddocks during the course of the season.
"I must say this championship has been notable for the spirit in which it has been fought," Brawn said. "Good battles, good spirit within the teams and for me obviously with the results that we had a great championship to be proud of."